Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that news reports from North Carolina have “oversimplified” the negotiations that led to United Technologies Corp committing to move jobs from Connecticut to that state.
The company is in the process of acquiring Charlotte-based Goodrich Corp. Once the acquisition is complete, UTC plans to relocate its new Aerospace Systems unit headquarters, currently housed in Windsor Locks.
On Tuesday the Charlotte Observer quoted Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Bob Morgan as saying UTC’s decision to move the division to that city was motivated by a desire for “political diversification.”
“They have all of their eggs in one basket politically, by having multiple divisions – all of which are in Connecticut,” the Observer reported Morgan saying. “They would like to diversify.”
Morgan’s claim the move was politically motivated has made waves here in Connecticut. In June the Hartford Courant reported North Carolina offered UTC $2.5 million in grants to relocate the 75 Connecticut jobs with a promise to create more than 300 additional positions. According to the Observer, the city of Charlotte added another $2.5 million in incentives to the pot.
In a statement, UTC spokesman John Moran, who was travelling overseas and could not be reached by phone, said the incentives factored into the company’s decision. He did not mention “political diversification” as a motivation.
“The Charlotte area was on our short list of attractive locations mainly because of the access to aerospace talent at Goodrich,” Moran said. “The location selection process was highly competitive, and the incentives provided by North Carolina were vital to our selection of the state for the headquarters. The state’s favorable business climate was also a consideration.”
Asked if Connecticut offered UTC any incentives to keep the division local, Malloy said he was in an “an ongoing discussion with United Technologies about just about everything.”
The governor was dismissive of the reports coming from North Carolina.
“I think there’s somewhat oversimplification in North Carolina about what happened about negotiations that led to the acquisition, I think those have been underestimated,” he said.
Malloy added that United Technologies has been a large employer in Connecticut that has been largely ignored by the state for much of the last decade.
“They didn’t have much of a relationship with state government over the last 10 years. I think if you talk to anybody in the hierarchy of United Technologies or any of the subdivisions they’ll tell you it’s a very different situation today than it was 18 months ago,” he said.
Morgan did not immediately return a call for comment regarding his statement.